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"There really wasn't much else to do. Make something, and die."
- Ian McEwan, Amsterdam
It won the Booker, but wasn't my favorite Ian McEwan. Similar to 'The Children Act' in its use of classical music (one of the main characters is a classical composer), it is almost too clean, too moralizing, too easily tied up. But really, those are my only major complaints. I found it fascinating at parts and love love love it when Ian McEwan writes fiction about composing or music.
There are a few writers I've read recently who do a fantastic job of incorporating classical music into their stories. I'm thinking of William Gass and 'Middle C', Julian Barnes and 'The Noise of Time', Richard Powers and 'Orfeo', William T. Vollmann also gets a nod with parts of 'Europe Central'. Anyway, I love it. It reminds me of reading DFW when he is riffing on Tennis or Pynchon when he is riffing on physics. There are certain realities that a great prose stylist can almost lift off the page. For me, McEwan's writing about music in this book is what keeps it at four stars and doesn't drop it to three.
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